• Go-ahead for Humber marine energy park (Planning Resource)

    From: Planning Resource
    Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has approved plans for a new port on the Humber Estuary to serve the offshore wind energy sector after concluding that the adverse impacts of the scheme in relation to protected wildlife habitats could be mitigated.
    McLoughlin has granted development consent for Able Humber Ports’ marine energy park on the south bank of the Humber Estuary at Killingholme in North Lincolnshire and associated development including an ecological compensatory scheme on the north bank of the Humber Estuary.In August, McLoughlin asked for more details on several aspects of the application including the risk that mitigation measures would not work and assurance that the scheme would not jeopardise any future operations of the Killingholme Branch railway.Conservation groups including the RSPB had protested that the project would destroy 55 hectares of estuarine mudflats in a special protection area designated under the European wild birds directive. A decision letter issued today said that McLoughlin noted in the August letter that there was “no dispute that the project would result in both a significant effect on, and an adverse effect on the integrity of, the Humber Estuary Special Area of Conservation, Special Protection Area and Ramsar site (“the European sites”)”. But letter said that the secretary of state has now concluded that there are “no realistic alternatives to the project with lesser impacts on the sites protected under the European Union Habitats Directive”. It said that on the risk that the compensatory measures would be ineffective, government advisor Natural England had down-graded its assessment from a “substantial risk” to a “residual risk”. The letter also said McLoughlin had received adequate assurance from the applicant that the project would not jeopardise any future operations of the Killingholme Branch railway. McLoughlin found that that the benefits of the project, “if fully realised, in terms of its contribution to the local, regional and national economy, its contribution to sustainable energy and carbon reduction, and the creation of employment opportunities in a disadvantaged area, are of major significance”. The letter concluded: “The secretary of state is satisfied that these benefits would outweigh significantly the residual adverse impacts of the project after mitigation and after taking in to account the proposed ecological compensatory measures. He therefore agrees with the panel’s recommendation that development consent should be given for the project”. Angus Walker, a partner at law firm Bircham Dyson Bell who acted on behalf of Able, said: “The granting of this complex application will significantly improve the UK’s manufacturing capabilities and is great news for both the Humberside economy and the offshore renewable energy sector”.

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